August 2009




With the new administration and the real estate industry getting so much attention in Washington, there are several federal issues which could affect the title industry in Texas. TLTA is fortunate to have “a man on the ground,” James Hyland, in DC fighting for our industry at the direction of an engaged TLTA Board seeking the best ways to bring the Texas Title perspective to Washington. TLTA is also working closely with ALTA to ensure that issues are spotted, strategy is developed, and success is achieved in dealing with the federal threats to your business. In this month’s Dateline, we wanted to place special emphasis on the federal front.

Federal Update From TLTA Board

The TLTA board recently voted to support two measures seeking consideration in Congress. The first, the $15,000 home buyer tax credit put forth by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Representative Ken Calvert (R-CA) may emerge as stand alone bills but will most likely be offered as amendments as the session continues. The second, is the Housing Emergency Liquidity Plan Act of 2009(“HELPAct”). This bill has not yet been filed and may also take the form of an amendment. The HELP Act is designed to create a pathway to legal status and citizenship for immigrants through home ownership. Under the proposal, if an immigrant purchased a home with personal funds during an 18-month window, that person would qualify for permanent resident status (“green card”) and would be on the path to citizenship. This program would not be available to individuals who are in the US illegally, but rather would be a means to obtain a visa and subsequent residency status. See the articles below explaining how a policy promoting these home purchases could be a real boon for the real estate market and the title industry.
Information on HELP Act
Immigrants Can Help Fix the Housing Bubble
Wall Street Journal l March 17, 2009
Solving the Housing Crisis
Thoughts From the Frontline Weekly Newsletter l March 21, 2009
Please Note: TLTA will issue a Call to Action when it's time to contact your representative to push for the passage of these two proposals.

Consumer Financial Protection Agency

TLTA is closely monitoring the discussion around the proposed new federal agency to focus on consumer protection, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank has decided to delay the committee vote on establishing this new agency until September. At this moment, title insurance is listed as a subject for regulation by this agency. TLTA and ALTA have been working to convince policy makers that it is unnecessary to include title insurance in the mandate of the new agency.


The RESPA rollout continues as TLTA awaits answers to questions that it submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development in April. Concerns remain relative to potential conflicts with TDI regulations and clarity necessary to properly comply with the new HUD form. It is worth noting that if the CFPA is established by Congress, then it is possible that RESPA may again be revisited and the new administration may propose new revisions.
Also in RESPA news,a judge recently threw out the National Association of Mortgage Brokers' challenge to the implementation of RESPA, removing another potential hurdle to the continued implementation of RESPA.
TLTA's RESPA Regulations and an Introduction to HUD-1 Webinar

Find yourself wishing you had your own personal RESPA guru to take you through the current RESPA regulations and tell you what isn’t changing as well as going over the new HUD-1 and instructions for completing it, one step at a time? Join Janet Minke, Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company/Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation on Wednesday, August 19 from 1:30-2:30 p.m.for this “introduction” webinar, designed to familiarize settlement agents with the content of the new regulations as it affects the preparation of a proper HUD-1.

Mortgage Disclosure Improvement Act

Additionally, TLTA members should be aware of the new Mortgage Disclosure Improvement Act (MDIA) that went into effect on July 30. These changes, while not directly affecting title insurance, will impact closings. The MDIA creates new APR tolerances which if not met will necessitate a new truth in lending (TIL) disclosure to be produced and delivered to the borrower. Other changes include a seven day waiting period after the TIL disclosure is received before the loan can be finalized. If the tolerances are not met and a new corrected TIL must be issued, then the closing must be delayed for three business days after the borrower has received the updated disclosure.


Rate Hearing at SOAH Scheduled for September

The biennial rate hearing is scheduled to begin on September 14 in Austin and continue throughout the week. Preparations are underway for the hearing and we will continue to update you as the hearing draws closer. After the pre-hearing conference, TLTA, along with other parties to the hearing (TDI, OPIC, etc.) filed statements of position. Click here to view the statements of position on our website and other rate hearing testimony. Please contact Aaron Day, Director of Government Affairs, at or 512.472.6593 if you have any questions.


Legislature Approves Continuation of TDI and OPIC

On July 1, Legislators convened in Austin for a brief special session to address the continuance of five state agencies, including the Texas Department of Insurance and the Office of Public Insurance Counsel. The Legislature approved Senate Bill 2 essentially extending the existence of the five state agencies until 2011.

2009 Legislative Report Available Online

Earlier this month, TLTA published its comprehensive post-session report. The report contains not only the TLTA Affirmative Agenda, but also legislation that would have an effect on the title industry and your business.Click here to access the 2009 Legislative Report. If you have any questions, please contact Aaron Day, TLTA Director of Government Affairs at or 512.472.6593.

New Laws Take Effect September 1 - Be Prepared with TLTA's NEW Webinars

 New Legislation Review for Escrow Settlement & Closing (Webinar)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
10 – 11 a.m.

Designed for:Escrow Settlement & Closing Personnel

> 1 hour escrow continuing education credit

New Legislation Review for Abstract/ Examination & Attorneys (Webinar)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
1:30 – 2:30 p.m.


Designed for:Attorneys & Abstract/Examination Personnel

> 1 hour legal and escrow continuing education credit

Close-Up on The Insolvency Bill HB 4338 and Other Bills of Interest for Agents & Underwriters (Webinar)
Thursday, August 13, 2009

10-11 a.m.


Designed for:Agents (Owners/Managers) and Underwriters (Agency Managers/Representatives)

>1 hour legal and escrow continuing education credit


TLTAPAC Thanks Its 2008-2009 Supporters

The first annual Bert Massey Classic Golf Tournament was a huge success.Thanks to all who participated and special thanks to PAC Golf Chair Chris Phillips and Volunteer DJ Horn for their work on the tournament. Click here to view golf and TLTAPAC Breakfast photos.

Last year, we were able to raise $86,195 in individual donations for 2008-2009. The TLTAPAC has renewed its $100,000 fundraising goal for 2009-2010 and we're certain with your help we can reach it. We've raised an outstanding $20,000 in the last month and its just the beginning. Don't wait - contribute today and receive recognition all year long! Click here to show your support and BACK the PAC!

Thank you again to our 2008-2009 TLTAPAC Board of Trustees and all of our PAC contributors. And a special thanks to the following corporate sponsors who help to make our our fundraising efforts successful. Thank you!


-Simplifile, LC

-Title Resources Guaranty Company

-Chicago Title Insurance Company

-First American Corelogic

-Hal Systems Corporation

-West Texas Title Company, Inc.

-University Title Company

-Alamo Title/fidelity national title

- Irelan*Hargis

- Northshore Title, Inc.

- Sierra Title of Cameron and Willacy Counties

- Walker County Title Company

-ASAP Pro Notary Services

-A. O. Thompson Abstract Co., Inc.

-Arnold Abstract Company


-Brown Abstract Company, Inc.

-Commerce Title Insurance Company

-First American Title Insurance Company

-Knox County Abstract Company, Inc.

- Property Info Corporation

- Winstead PC

- Alliant National Title Insurance Company

-RamQuest Software, Inc.

-Stewart Title Guaranty Company

-The Brown County Abstract Company, Inc.

-West Texas Abstract & Title Company

-National TaxNet

-Chapin Title Company

-Red River Title Company

- Kimmel Corporation

- Mackie Wolf & Zientz, PC

- Independence Title Company

- Monteith Abstract & Title Company

- Charter Title Company


Industry Stats

Release Date Latest Release
Change from Previous Release

30 Year Fixed Mortgage Rates 7/16/09 5.14% -0.06%
15 Year Fixed Mortgage Rates 7/16/09 4.63% -0.06
10 Year Treasury Rate 7/16/09 3.59% -0.04
Existing Home Sales (in millions) 6/23/09 4.77 +2.4%
New Home Sales 6/24/09 342,000 -0.6%
Supply of Housing Inventory 6/24/09 9.6 months -3.5%
Information Provided by ALTA.

ALTA Reports First-Quarter Industry Financial Results

The American Land Title Association, after releasing its first-quarter 2009 Title Insurance Industry Market Share and Financial Statement, reported that the title insurance industry remains in a strong financial position despite the continued reduction in title insurance premiums. Click here to view ALTA's full report.

Reverse Mortgage Day in Texas

On Thursday, August 6, 2009 the Texas Mortgage Bankers will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Reverse Mortgages in Texas. Lenders, academicians and business executives from all over the country will gather at the Driskill Hotel in Austin for this day long event. The event is designed to give attendees and the press an opportunity to interact with key regulators and consumer groups to receive up-to-date developments regarding the reverse mortgage sector.
For event details, please contact Christine Herman at cherman@prclosings.comor 800.542.4113.

Webb County Indictment

The Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association has posted the following press release regarding the May 13, 2009, indictment of Edward Hinojosa, former controller and accountant for Webb County Title & Abstract Company, Inc. and Raul Labrada, also an employee for Webb County & Title Abstract Company, Inc. For additional information, click here to read the Laredo Morning Times article.

New Mexico Title Insurance Rates to Increase 10.7 Percent Effective August 1, 2009

The New Mexico Superintendent of Insurance announced June 30, 2009, that effective August 1, 2009, real estate title insurance premiums would rise by 10.7 percent overall. Additionally, the remittance rates from title agencies to underwriters increased from 19 percent to 20 percent for residential properties. A new rate schedule has yet to be released. ClickhereforBusiness Wirestory.

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